Congress to Vote on a Way to Distribute Cyber Crime Information to States and Cities

Should the Secret Service add a division that distributes cybercrime information?

by Caitlin Martin

What is it?

On Tuesday, May 16, the House will consider passage of HR 1616 — Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act of 2017, sponsored by John Ratcliffe (R-TX). The bill has nine co-sponsors in the House — eight Republicans and one Democrat. Senate Judiciary Chairman, Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) have introduced this legislation in the Senate.

What does this mean to me?

If passed, a National Computer Forensics Institute (NCFI), operated by the U.S. Secret Service, would be established. This agency would operate within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to distribute information related to cyber crime — either threats or acts of terrorism. The agency would also educate and train law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges at state and local levels of government.

Proponents of the bill argue that law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and judges at all levels of government need more information and training about cyber crime and see the new agency as a way to provide more insights. Opponents of the bill argue that there are already many resources devoted to this mission, including the FBI, so there is no need for a single resource on this issue.

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